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Jumbo Package: More Rose Bowl Predictions

We’re closing in on game time!

2023 SEC Championship - Georgia v Alabama Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

In terms of news, there’s not too much leaking around out there for Alabama fans. For the most part, we’re down to just reading about predictions. In any case, this will be a more abbreviated Jumbo Package and we’ll be back by later with more of our own previews for the game.

“For the first 12 weeks of this year, I thought Michigan was the better team than Alabama,” Klatt said. “It just so happens that the lone game that I didn’t think so was the last one. When you look at what Bama did against Georgia and what Michigan was without Zak Zinter you’re like ‘Woah, wait a second.’”

Klatt states that if those 2 versions of the programs show up, then Alabama would win. But, if the Crimson Tide that nearly lost to Auburn show up while the version of Michigan that beat Ohio State shows up, then the Wolverines would win. Klatt went through a myriad of somewhat confusing analogies such as this. The moral of the story is that these teams have high ceilings and low floors.

Alabama has definitely been a roller coaster of a team this year, so who really knows who shows up and how the game turns out. Still, this is top-level hedging from Joel Klatt to not actually make a definitive prediction.

Alabama has trailed in nine of its 13 games and managed eight wins in those contests. No one in the country won more often this season in games they’ve trailed. The Crimson Tide are simply more battle-tested in close games than any team in the field, and that experience will pay dividends during the inevitably tense moments of the CFP.

Washington won six games this season in which it trailed, while Texas won five and Michigan won four. The Crimson Tide also spent less time leading this season than any team in the field and far more time trailing or tied. There will be no panic if Alabama finds itself behind in the second half of the Rose Bowl.

On the flip side, if the Crimson Tide manage to get ahead of the Wolverines, it will put Michigan in an unfamiliar position. Michigan is unaccustomed to playing from behind and was in just two games this season decided by seven points or less. Said another way: Alabama was the least-dominant team in the CFP field over the course of the season; however, the absence of dominance created a comfort in close games that can help the Crimson Tide win a championship.

Here CBS talks about Alabama’s “battle-tested” nature as a team as a positive. And since most of us blamed the inverse of that for the Tide’s 2018 loss to Clemson in the national championship, I won’t say it’s definitively not a factor.

You hear a lot about strength of schedule when it comes to comparing playoff résumés (hey there, Florida State). There’s validity to saying a team played an easier schedule, but I’ve always cared more about how a team plays rather than who it plays. History suggests it’s a better indicator of how a team will perform in the future than the strength of the teams it has beaten, all of which bodes well for Michigan.

Not only did the Wolverines go 13-0 and beat opponents by an average of 27.2 points per game — including the Big Ten Championship Game, they won their conference games by an average of 27.4 points per game — but they hardly broke a sweat doing so. Between offense and defense, the Wolverines were on the field for 1,535 snaps this season. They trailed for 42 of them. That’s 2.7% of the snaps they played.

Of course, CBS’s counterpart article for Michigan mentions their dominance against a generally weaker schedule as a good predictor, so who even knows what they believe??

After every game, Nick Saban makes sure his players and staff know what went well, what didn’t go well and what was flat out ugly.

The Alabama football coach ensures that happens by bringing up plays in each category every Monday. He calls the session “good, bad and ugly.”

Saban gathers the team in a room then walks them through the good, the bad and the ugly from the previous game. Saban explained this process while at Disneyland on Wednesday during a pre-Rose Bowl event.

“What is good bad and ugly?” Saban asked rhetorically. “There’s some good plays, there’s some bad plays and there’s some ugly plays. Aight? And everybody needs to see them.”

In these meetings, Saban runs the projector.

“And I’m doing all the talking,” Saban said.

I always love hearing about the little things that happen behind the scenes at practices.

Like they would with nearly any transfer as talented as the Texas A&M receiver, Tennessee has interest in Stewart. But after entering the portal, Alabama and Texas were the two schools linked closest to Stewart. But is that changing?

“I’ve heard Texas and Alabama rumored and I’ve also been told by sources that those really aren’t viable options,” On3’s Pete Nakos said on the Andy Staples Show on Tuesday night.

Nakos not only said that Alabama and Texas don’t appear to be viable options for Stewart, but he listed Tennessee as one of the many schools he’s heard linked to Stewart in recent days.

“In recent days I’ve heard Florida State thrown out there, I’ve heard Ole Miss, I’ve heard Tennessee, I’ve heard USC, I’ve heard Oregon,” Nakos said. “I think that we’ll start to get a better feel in the days to come but I’ll tell you guys right now, I don’t think he lands at Texas or Alabama.”

Evan Stewart is a guy we’ve all been somewhat quietly hoping he might come to Alabama after leaving the Aggies, but this report makes it sound like the Tide is out of the running here, for whatever reason. Probably best to not get our hopes up. Hopefully he goes west and not to Tennessee or Ole Miss.